May 2018 – Make a recommendation.
You can reduce your patient’s and family’s distress by making a recommendation about CPR based on what you know about CPR as a medical procedure. “Do everything, doctor!” may not mean full code. Patients may be expressing fear; they need your commitment to continuing to help them no matter what.
If you have a pit in your stomach about a patient’s resuscitation choices, try to find a way to address this directly. Use language like “CPR won’t help you remain at home with your family.” Or “We are at a different place now.” Or “My experience is that CPR will not help you live longer.” You don’t have to use scary language to be truthful.